3 Floral Arrangement Tips I Learned at the Rose Bowl

So I've always been into interior decorating, and floral arrangements go hand in hand with that. I'm a strong believer that any space can be livened up with a bit of fresh foliage.

This year to ring in the new year, my daughters and I had the opportunity to help with the Rose Bowl Parade Float for Dole. Umm, I couldn't say yes fast enough.

The backstory

My husband's first cousin is a florist based out of Denver and has been on Dole's design committee for the Rose Bowl parade. Because of her, we were able to get a BEHIND THE SCENES look at the float creation. You have to get a special pass to get into the warehouse where the floats are being fabricated, and she was gracious enough to grab a few extra for us.

The adventure begins

My daughters and I hopped on the overnight train and set out to Pasadena, California.

For the next two days, it was nose to the grind learning from some of the greatest artists in the world. In just 72 hours we transformed a trailer, chicken wire, and thousands of flowers into a massive full-color display.

Well, okay... Let's be honest. We weren't a huge help compared to these trained designers, but it was still an incredible experience.

And can we talk about the smell?! Yes, please sign me up to be in a room full of flowers for three whole days. I will gladly do it anytime.

Here's what I learned

Even though there is no way on earth that you could fit this float in your house, there are definitely some key strategies that I learned to help with any floral arrangement.

1. Height matters

So, obviously, there's no way to fit a 20-foot display in your house--well, at least not in mine. But that doesn't mean that you can't make your bouquet taller than it is wide. Make your bouquet taller than its container by about one and a half times. This will lead the eye up and let the piece be more of a conversation piece.

Overall, just make sure the width balances the height and be sure to make it something that you love.

2. Keep your foliage clear of water

This might be a no-brainer if you've ever received flowers, but it's important to remove all the leaves and extra stems that will fall below the water line. If anything falls below, it can cause your entire arrangement to wilt and shorten its life expectancy.

3. Plan it out

If you've ever tried to design a floral arrangement and felt like there was just something missing, it's because there probably was. Designers work incredibly hard to make sure that each piece is perfect. The Dole designers created high-resolution sketches and designs and built based on those calculations. The reality for us is that we're probably never going to spend hours to design our table centerpiece. But taking a moment to at least think about what you want your design to look like and making a mental note of how much foliage you'll need will make sure your arrangement looks complete.

What an experience

The amount of time and manpower it takes to place every seed and flower on these floats to make them come to life just amazed me. I will now have a much greater appreciation each year that I watch it on TV.

I am so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this experience. These people are true artists that donated their time for this great American tradition. My daughters and I will never forget this amazing experience.

Your friend,


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